MSNBC Guest Apologizes for 'Flippant' Remark Dismissing Mollie Tibbetts as Some ‘Girl in Iowa’ Who ‘Fox News Is Talking About’

August 22, 2018

Christina Greer, a frequent MSNBC guest and a professor at Fordham University, on Wednesday apologized for a "flippant" remark she made the previous evening, when she reduced the memory of late University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts as "a girl in Iowa" who "Fox News is talking about."

Greer appeared on MSNBC's "The Beat," where she and the panel discussed the breaking news of President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleading guilty to eight counts and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort being found guilty on eight counts.

She faced backlash on social media following the MSNBC segment for her comment about Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old Iowa student who disappeared in July while jogging. Authorities announced on Tuesday that they found her body in a cornfield in a rural part of the county and later announced they had also arrested suspect Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant, and charged him with first-degree murder.

Greer's comment about Tibbets came while slamming the Republican Party for continuing to move the goal post with Trump no matter what he says or does, adding that she couldn't believe Republicans supported Trump after the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape was released in October 2016.

"[Trump] has been able to bully them into their silence and I don't think that today changes much unfortunately. I'm sure we'll hear what he has to say about this at his rally, but Fox News is talking about a girl in Iowa and not this, right? And tomorrow morning we know he'll wake up and tweet and besmirch the reputation of Michael Cohen and all the people around him and then go back to Mueller, and this is obviously going to boil down to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," Greer said.

Greer initially attempted to play the victim after conservative media outlets called her out for the remark, but she later offered her condolences, saying her comment was "unintended."

"Yesterday I said something flippant that was unintended. Mollie Tibbets was a promising young woman who lost her life. My hope is that her family will find peace & justice and that her murder is not used to justify a discriminatory immigration policy. #Apologiesaremyown," Greer said.

The MSNBC guest was not the only person to receive backlash on Tuesday for her comments about the alleged murder of Tibbets. After news broke that the murder suspect was an illegal immigrant, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller was slammed for jocularly suggesting the murder case was "Likely coming to a Trump rally near you."

"Likely coming to a Trump rally near you.... Investigators: Suspect in Mollie Tibbetts death is in custody, subject to immigration detainer," Miller tweeted.

Washington Examiner reporter Gabby Morrongiello called out Miller for the tweet, saying she didn't "know if it's an appropriate occasion for reporters to be making Trump jokes."

Miller later clarified in a tweet that the murder was "Obviously a tragedy" and that the revelation about the murder suspect "contributes to that which POTUS has been highlighting."

Trump has been an outspoken critic of illegal immigration and has used similar murder cases like that of Tibbets to push for tougher immigration laws and a border wall. Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has invoked the 2015 murder case of Kate Steinle to call for tougher safety standards in immigration. Steinle, at the age of 32, was killed in San Francisco in July 2015 after a gun was discharged by Jose Zarate, a convicted felon who had been deported five times prior to Steinle's death. Zarate was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges after his attorney argued the shooting was accidental and the bullet ricocheted off the ground before hitting Steinle. A week after his acquittal, he was indicted on two federal charges of being a felon and undocumented immigrant in possession of a firearm and ammunition.